The English Teacher Vol.XXXIV
A COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH TO TEACHING GRAMMAR:THEORY AND PRACTICE
National Taiwan University
Since the introduction of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), many textbookshave been written to incorporate communicative activities, authentic materials andpersonalized contexts. However, where the teaching and learning of grammar is concerned,most textbooks do not reflect CLT principles. As demonstrated in this paper, grammaractivities in some Malaysian and Taiwanese textbooks retain the structural method of teaching grammar. This paper suggests five methods so that grammar activities can bemade more communicative by retaining some practices of the structural syllabus.
Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) materialized in the West in the 1960sand has extended to the Eastern countries over the last 20 years. Since then, CLTprinciples have formed the foundation of English language syllabi for countriessuch as Malaysia and Taiwan. In Malaysia, CLT was adopted as early as the 1970sbut in Taiwan, the switch from the structural to communicative approach only startedin the 1990s. Before CLT was introduced, the structural syllabus was the mainstreamapproach in most Asian settings including Malaysia and Taiwan. Yalden (1987:61)summarized the essence of CLT thus:
It is based on the notion of the learners as communicators, naturally endowed withthe ability to learn languages. It seeks to provide learners with the target languagesystem. It is assumed that learners will have to prepare to use the target language(orally and in written form) in many predictable and unpredictable acts of communication which arise both in classroom interaction and in real-world situations, whether concurrent with language training or subsequent to it.
I would like to thank John Kullman of Canterbury Christ Church University College, Canterbury,England, for his comments on the previous version of this paper. My appreciation also goes toProfessor Kathleen Ahrens of National Taiwan University and the reviewer(s) of the
for reading and commenting on this paper. Any remaining errors are my sole responsibility.The English T